Wal-Mart Surveys Holiday Plans

With Christmas still nearly three months away, consumers are deciding how to allocate holiday spending in an economically stressed season, according to a phone survey conducted in mid-September on behalf of Wal-Mart Stores here. According to the survey, 39% of respondents said they plan to purchase less expensive items to deal with the weakened economy and 35% said they would purchase

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — With Christmas still nearly three months away, consumers are deciding how to allocate holiday spending in an economically stressed season, according to a phone survey conducted in mid-September on behalf of Wal-Mart Stores here.

According to the survey, 39% of respondents said they plan to purchase less expensive items to deal with the weakened economy and 35% said they would purchase gifts for fewer people this year.

Although 61% of respondents said they do not plan to cut back spending, those who do plan cutbacks said they expect to reduce spending by $50 or less.

The survey said 51% of adults age 18 to 24 plan to start their Christmas shopping at least one month earlier this year, while respondents in the South were slightly more likely to purchase less expensive items and to start gift shopping earlier to help stretch their budgets, the survey noted.

Asked what gift they would like to get from the next U.S. president, 13% of respondents mentoned a stable economy and 11% asked for an end to the war in Iraq.